The digital divide between countries in the UK is narrowing according to a report from Ofcom. Overall access to broadband increased from 35% to 45% between 2005 and 2006. However by the forth quarter of 2006, broadband penetration reached an unbelievable 50%, a rise of 43% on 2005.
The report revealed that broadband take up in England reached 45% by the end of 2006, while 42% of homes have broadband in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
This is in contrast to 2005 when England’s broadband uptake was over a third higher than Northern Ireland and Wales. During this period Scotland came in second but still fell short.
Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) has more prevalent, as two-thirds of the UK population are able to get phone and broadband services through LLU compared to only two-fifths able to connect by the end of 2005.
Each country seems to prefer its own technology in 2006, with bundled services the most popular in Northern Ireland, Wi-Fi the choice option in Wales and VoIP being Scotland’s preferred technology. In music loving England DAB radio has been a huge success in comparison to the rest of the British Isles.
Ofcom’s chief executive said, "The geographic gap between the digital haves and have-nots in the UK has been gradually narrowing, but we need to do more to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from the economic and social benefits modern communications offer".
Also according to the study, broadband connection in rural areas is increasing, as 41% of adults who live in the countryside have broadband access in their homes compared to their city-dwelling counterparts who stand at 45%.
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